Thursday, 27 March 2008

Plea bargains on PACER

The Reporters' Committee for Freedom of the Press reports that the Judicial Conference's Committee on Court Administration and Case Management (CACM) has declined to endorse a Department of Justice proposal that would have removed criminal plea agreements from PACER, allowing access only to the print records at federal courthouses.
In Dec. 2006, the Department of Justice proposed a change in Judicial Conference policy to facilitate the elimination of Internet access by removing all plea agreements from PACER. The CACM Committee then solicited and received public comment on the suggestion and deliberated about the Justice Department proposal and the public comment received. The Committee determined that prohibiting public Internet access to all plea agreements, most of which do not disclose a defendant's cooperation, while simultaneously leaving all plea agreements available to the public in clerk's offices is an inadequate solution.
However, the Committee is also asking district courts to consider adopting a local policy that protects information about cooperation in law enforcement investigations.

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